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The latest news from the world of racing


Archive for October, 2010

Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit provided the latest port of call for Menasheh Idafar today, Friday, 29th October, as the 19-year-old continues his winter testing programme ahead of a planned step-up to the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Class next year.

Enjoying an almost entirely dry day of action for the first time at the wheel of a 2010 Volkswagen powered Dallara, the British-born Bahraini made good progress once again and worked on a raft of set-up changes.

With a number of other British F3 teams in action, alongside several Formula Renault squads, the track was busy but not crowded so Menasheh and the T-Sport team – the squad with which he claimed the 2010 National Class British F3 title – completed a very successful day’s running.

“It’s been a very, very good test”, he said, “Our pace was good and we made some really strong progress with the set-up of the car. The track was damp to begin but the day stayed dry so it was nice to finally get almost a full day of dry running in the A Class car. We’re definitely on the right track and moving forward which is great.”

Having run at nearby Rockingham, Silverstone and Monza in Italy this month, Menasheh is expected to return to test action early in November at Cheshire’s Oulton Park.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series racer Menasheh Idafar thoroughly enjoyed his first ever experience of the world famous Autodromo di Monza in Italy on Monday, 25th October, during his latest test outing at the wheel of a 2010 specification Dallara-Volkswagen.

Having sampled the T-Sport run car at Rockingham and Silverstone earlier in the month, the 2010 National Class Champion seized the chance to gain some valuable mileage at the 3.6-mile track with Monza set to kick-off the 2011 British F3 season.

Although Menasheh hasn’t yet confirmed a race deal for next year, the plan is for him to make the step-up into the main International Class. To that end, the 19-year-old aims to get as much running under his belt as possible in the 2010 car.

Heavy rain prevented a truly extensive day of testing to take place at Monza although it was still possible to go through some set-up work. The bad weather caused a delay of around 90 minutes before the track opened for action and although the morning was affected by numerous red flag stoppages, Menasheh was very happy with the programme he was able to complete.

“Monza is such a great track, it was fantastic to experience it for the first time”, said Menasheh, “I really enjoyed the test. The heavy rain almost led to the day being cancelled and there were loads of red flags in the morning, but we got some consistent running in later on.

“The car felt great, we’ve definitely made good progress with it over the last few tests. I love the track, especially parts like the Ascari Chicane which is really nice. Overall it was a really good day, I had a great time.”

Menasheh returns to the track at Silverstone in Northamptonshire this coming Friday, 29th October, for another test outing in one of T-Sport’s Volkswagen-engined Dallaras.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

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Britain’s leading female racing driver Alice Powell has become the first female driver to win a Formula Renault title winning the 2010 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship; a grand accolade and one which she fully intends to use as a spring-board to becoming the first successful female in F1.

At 17 Alice is a year younger than Lewis Hamilton was when he won his first Renault Championship at 18 in a similar car.

Alice overturned a 16-point advantage held by title rival Mitchell Hale going into yesterday’s championship finale at Thruxton. Closing the gap down to just four points on overall scores after the opener, Powell triumphed over Hale again in the finale in the best possible way – with race victory.

Alice says: “In the final race I started on pole, got a good start and lead lights to flag to win the championship! It’s been a mega year, big big thanks to my engineer Sarah Shaw for all her help and effort she has given me this season as well as to my team Hillspeed and all my sponsors, Silverstone Hotels, Immun’Age and Bristol Street Motors.”

“Taking the championship with a race win is the perfect way to end the season. I’m doing the Formula Renault UK Winter Series with Manor and I’m hoping we can try and win that and then look at UK again for 2011.”

Alice won in perfect style at Thruxton on Sunday, 17th October, after taking her second race victory of the season during the final round to clinch the coveted crown by just eight points.

Alice says: “There was no pre race testing, so all the 18 cars had to go straight out into qualifying. As the cars began their qualifying runs, my car would not start. At that moment I could see 9 years of blood sweat and tears, as well as every penny invested going down the drain. The seconds and minutes seemed like hours when I heard the cars screaming by on the straight. As the session approached halfway, I could hear the cars coming into the pits to change their tyres. I now felt it was all over. However, just after halfway through the session, my engineer Sarah managed to start the car by sorting the fuel injection problem.”

Alice, who lives in Chipping Norton, says: “As the race started, I managed to build a lead but the safety car came out which bunched the field up, so I had all the drama of the start, once more. I pulled out another lead and to my horror there was another safety car. I managed to pull away again, but on the last bend, on the last lap, in my excitement I clipped a kerb and lost control for a split second, but I managed to hang on for the win.”

Photos by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Menasheh Idafar continued to acclimatise himself well with International Class British Formula 3 machinery at Silverstone in Northamptonshire today, Thursday, 14th October, during his second outing at the wheel of a Volkswagen powered Dallara.

After debuting in the 2010-specification T-Sport run car at Rockingham last week with a two-day outing, the reigning National Class Champion took to the track at the Brackley team’s local venue today for a highly encouraging test.

Although the day was extremely busy with a lot of F3 and Formula Renault cars leading to high levels of traffic, the 19-year-old enjoyed a great run and made good improvements. Building up nicely in only his second outing in the premier class – as he considers graduating to the top tier in British Formula 3 for the 2011 season – Menasheh concluded the Silverstone run very positively.

He said: “I’m really pleased with today’s test, we improved nicely on last week’s run at Rockingham and worked through a lot of different set-ups and changes to the car. I’m happy with how everything felt today and although there was a lot of traffic, we did everything we set out to which was good.”

Next on the agenda for Menasheh is a trip to Hockenheim in Germany this weekend for more F3 running before travelling to Monza in Italy to continue his winter test programme later in the month.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

New Zealand’s top young racing driver, Richie Stanaway (18) recently took part in the official end of season Formula Renault 2.0 test day on the Monday following the last round of the World Series by Renault at the well-known Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain. Richie was invited to the test after winning this year’s ADAC Formel Masters championship in Germany, and took part with Eurocup Championship-winning team, Koiranen Bros Motorsport.

Many drivers from all over the world were invited to the test, with the format featuring two 90 minute sessions. In the first session Richie finished third quickest, with the two quicker drivers having experience with the circuit or car beforehand. In the final session the drivers set times on a new tyre run, and Richie was sitting second quickest in the early part of the session before most of the other drivers did a second new tyre run at the very end of the session bumping Richie further down the order.

Reflecting on his test day, Stanaway says it was a great experience. “It was fantastic to drive the new style Formula Renault 2.0, especially on such an amazing venue as the Circuit de Catalunya. It was a very valuable experience for me as a driver”

After his great season and the winning of the ATS Formula 3 Trophy, Riccardo’s team STROMOS Artline Racing deceided, that Riccardo participate at the last two races of the ATS Formula 3 Cup at Oschersleben with a Dallara F307 cup-car.

The car was for him and the team completely new and they had no experience with this car, so it was really difficult for them to get the car working and they had several problems, but Riccardo tried to do his best. In the first race he had after the start a small damage, after that he had some problems with the car but he finished 12th. In the second race he had a good start, but the race was stopped with the red flag. During the re-start he lost some positions, but after good fights he saw the checkered flag twice on 12th.

“It was great that I had the chance to race with the cup car, I have to thank my team STROMOS Artline Racing for that!”

Young Tauranga race driver, Richie Stanaway (18), was given the opportunity recently to test with front-running German Formula 3 team, Van Amersfoort Racing, on the Monday following the final round of the ATS-German Formula 3 Cup held at Oschersleben. The test was awarded to the top three finishers of the 2010 ADAC Formula Masters Championship, being Stanaway who dominated and won the Championship with a round to spare after taking 12 race wins, along with second placed Patrick Schranner, and third placed Mario Farnbacher. However Farnbacher unfortunately missed out on the test due to the third Van Amersfoort car being too badly damaged in the final race of the weekend, meaning he will get his first Formula 3 experience in the next few weeks.

Richie got his first taste of Formula 3 driving a Dallara F307 powered by Volkswagen, the #2 Van Amersfoort entry driven by Daniel Abt to second place in the 2010 ATS-German Formula 3 Cup. The test ran smoothly and Richie was quickly up to speed, setting the quickest lap time right from the very first morning session against other more experienced Formula 3 drivers, and setting the fastest lap time in every session throughout the day.

“I thoroughly enjoyed driving an F3 car for the first time. The guys at Van Amersfoort did a great job with teaching me what I needed to learn and work on, which enabled us to progress well throughout the day, but of course there is still a lot for me to learn. Optimising the braking performance, getting a feeling for the differential during the mid corner and power down phases, as well as utilising the downforce in high speed corners were all new experiences for me, as well as many other components that come with driving a Formula 3 car” said Stanaway.

Richie would like to thank ADAC and Volkswagen for making the test possible.

Next on the agenda for Richie is a Formula Renault 2.0 test in Barcelona, Spain, at the famous F1 Circuit de Catalunya on Monday October 11 with Formula Renault Eurocup Championship winning team, Koiranen Bros Motorsport.

More on Richie’s plan for 2011 will hope to be known by the end of the month.

Photo by Suzanne Rossbach.

Newly crowned Cooper Tires British Formula 3 National Class Champion Menasheh Idafar made a swift return to action at Rockingham this week by making his International Class test debut at the wheel of one of T-Sport’s Volkswagen-engined Dallaras.

Fresh from winning the 2010 National Class title at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit the weekend before last – where he stunned the F3 paddock by sealing the championship with an outstanding overall podium finish – Menasheh concluded the two day test this afternoon, Tuesday, 5th October, happy with his maiden experience of 2010 specification machinery.

Not only marking the 19-year-old’s debut outing in a Dallara F310, this week’s outing at the Corby venue also provided the British-born Bahraini with his first taste of Volkswagen power – the engine manufacturer which won the main 2010 British F3 title with Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne.

“It’s been great driving the A-Class car, we tried lots of changes with set-up and the brakes over the last couple of days and worked on what I need to do to get the most from the car, he said, “I want to step-up to the main championship next year so it’s important to get some testing done while the weather still allows us to!”

With 18 victories in the National Class en-route to championship glory little over a week ago, the recently concluded season marked Menasheh’s most successful since graduating to car racing in 2006 in the Middle Eastern Thunder Arabia Championship.

Following two seasons in Formula Renault BARC, he moved into the high-profile Formula Renault UK category for 2009 – finishing third in that year’s Winter Series – before embarking on the challenge of Formula 3 this year.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.